Was NYC always "Gotham City"?
December 10, 2004 11:43 PM   Subscribe

Did Batman use the phrase "Gotham City" first? Or was it a reference to NYC beforehand? What's the history of the phrase?
posted by xmutex to Writing & Language (4 answers total)
According to here, it was first used by Washington Irving in reference to NYC, ca. 1807.
posted by fricative at 11:54 PM on December 10, 2004

Whoops, sorry, you can tell I'm in a rush. If you actually read the link I've posted (which I obviously only did cursorily), you can see that it all orginally springs from a Gotham that is/was in Nottinghamshire. Curse my half-assery!
posted by fricative at 11:56 PM on December 10, 2004

second result in a google search for "Gotham City" origin meaning
posted by gluechunk at 12:14 AM on December 11, 2004

Point of information: the village in England is pronounced GOAT-em or GOTT-em (th=t), but in the US (where traditions go to die) it's pronounced as written, GOTH-em.

My beat-up old Webster's Geographical Dictionary has a charming entry for the US usage:
"The city of New York—first popularly so called in Salmagundi (1807-08), a humorous work by Washington Irving, William Irving, and James Kirke Paulding, because the inhabitants were such wiseacres."
posted by languagehat at 8:35 AM on December 11, 2004

« Older Intel Fab-4 - what does it mean?   |   What are your favorite DVD commentary tracks? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.